Falcons Wrap Up Season At NCAA Championships
Oklahoma City, Okla. - Four Air Force wrestlers competing at this year's national meet finished their respective seasons Thursday on the first day of action at the 2006 NCAA Championships being held at the Ford Center.
In the first round at 133 pounds, senior co-captain and three-time NCAA qualifier Brandon Strong (Albuquerque, N.M.) went up against sixth-seeded Matthew Valenti of Penn, falling in a time of 5:45. From there, it was on to the first round of wrestlebacks, where Strong was pitted against Mike Ciotti of Pittsburgh. Again, Strong was unable to get the victory, dropping a 6-3 decision, bringing an end to his season and career with the Falcons.
At 141, sophomore Jake Kriegbaum (Abilene, Kan.), in his second NCAA appearance, also had a tough match-up in the first round, going up against fifth-seed Joshua Churella of Michigan. After losing a 6-0 decision, it was on to t he wrestlebacks, where he dropped a17-9 major decision to Northern Illinois' Josh Wooton, the 11th-seed in the bracket. With his losses, Kriegbaum's season also was brought to an end.
Senior co-captain Beau Tresemer (Norman, Okla.), wrestling in his first NCAA meet, also did not fare well, losing both of his matches on the opening day of competition. Tresemer, competing at 165 pounds, faced North Carolina's Garrett Atkinson in the first round, losing a 10-8 decision. Then it was into the wrestlebacks, where he faced Cal State Bakersfield's Brian Busby. Though Tresemer was able to hand Busby a defeat earlier this season, at the Midlands Invitational, he would not be able to do the same this week, dropping the 18-8 major decision to bring his season and Falcon career to a close.
Finally, Brenden McLean (Sr., Merlin, Ore.), making his second straight NCAA appearance, was the last Air Force wrestler competing on the first day of the national meet, going up against eighth-seeded Ryan Bader of Arizona State at 197 pounds. Falling at the 2:18 mark to Bader, McLean moved into the wrestlebacks where he faced Charles Martin of Army. Though it was close, McLean came up short against his service-academy foe, dropping the 6-5 decision, and bringing an end to his season and career as a Falcon.
While Air Force's NCAA season comes to an end with this week's national championships, a select group of Falcons will be back in action on April 1 when they take part in the USA Wrestling Nationals competition in Las Vegas, Nev.